World Alzheimer’s Month is the international campaign that takes place every September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. September 2019 will mark the 8th World Alzheimer’s Month. The campaign was launched in 2012: World Alzheimer’s Day is on 21 September each year. World Alzheimer’s Month aims to help establish and strengthen associations around the world and to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia. ADI works locally, by empowering national Alzheimer associations to promote and offer support to people with dementia and their care partners, and globally to focus attention on the epidemic.
What Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder in which the death of brain cells causes memory loss and cognitive decline. It is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases of dementia in the United States. Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease. At first, symptoms are mild, but they become more severe over time.
Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. Worldwide, approximately 50 million people have dementia, with nearly 60% living in low- and middle-income countries. Every year, there are nearly 10 million new cases.
Alzheimer’s effect on lives
The best-known symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss but there are many other symptoms associated with the condition. Two of these are a change in social behaviors and an increase in anxiety.
There is some evidence that social engagement can help to delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. People affected by dementia often withdraw from social occasions. Changes in social behavior are often noted as one of the earliest signs of the condition, sometimes occurring up to five years before someone receives a diagnosis. Anxiety affects up to 70 per cent of people with Alzheimer’s disease and five per cent of people with the condition experience severe anxiety. This aspect of the condition can cause great distress to both the person affected and their career.
Hearing loss and an increase risk for dementia
When someone has a hearing loss, like 48 million people in the United States do, it is a challenge to stay socially engaged unless you are actively treating your hearing loss. This lack of social engagement has been linked to hearing loss and back to dementia.
“The general perception is that hearing loss is a relatively inconsequential part of aging,” says Dr. Frank Lin, an otologist and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Dr. Lin says that recent findings suggest that it may play a much more important role in brain health than we’ve previously thought.”
Using hearing aids can lower risk of Alzheimer’s
People age 66 and older who got a hearing aid shortly after being diagnosed with hearing loss were less likely to receive a first-time diagnosis of dementia or depression, or be injured by a fall, in the following three years, a study published Thursday by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found.
Researchers from the University of Michigan examined insurance data from nearly 115,000 Michigan residents whose insurance covered part of the cost of hearing aids. People who got hearing aids had an 18 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, within three years of their hearing loss diagnosis, the study found.
People with hearing loss may have higher rates of dementia, depression and fall injuries for a variety of reasons, the researchers said, including diminished social interaction, loss of balance and less brain stimulation. Struggling to hear those closest to us in our daily life makes us feel isolated and cut off from the world. When you understand how much of an impact hearing loss can have on your life the importance of addressing the problem as soon as possible is imperative.
Fidelity Hearing Centers
Celebrate World Alzheimer’s Month with us at Fidelity Hearing Centers. If you suspect you have hearing loss, it’s never too early to get your hearing tested. Contact us to set up a hearing test so you can know for sure if a hearing loss is present and start preventing cognitive disorders now!